On 31 Aug, 20:51, Rex Allen <rexallen...@gmail.com> wrote:

> > "If you make yourself small enough you can avoid responsibility for 
> > everything."
> >        --- Daniel Dennett, in Elbow Room
>
> Yeah, Dennett just redefines words in new ways so that he can say
> something like that and have it mean something entirely different than
> it would under common usage.  The goal being to convince people that a
> deterministic world-view doesn't drastically change anything, and
> therefore they shouldn't be alarmed by it.  "All the moral and ethical
> beliefs you had before are still basically true!  (IF you redefine all
> the words so that they mean something different than what you took
> them to mean before.)"

Rex, (a lot) earlier on in this thread you responded sympathetically
to my suggestion that our 'ownership' of willing and acting is
necessarily borrowed or inherited from the generalised context from
which our self-concept is abstracted.  Broadly, this is the brunt of
Dennett's aphorism.  Whereas I part company with him on experiential
eliminativism on quite separate grounds, I think his exploration of
the constraints on our actions in "Freedom Evolves" is pretty much on
the money.  The key to this I think is avoidance of any notion that as
'individuals' we are other than metaphorically distinguishable from
the generalised context which is our larger 'personality'.  Any such
idea of separation immediately seems to put "our" will and action into
conflict with "its" will and action.  But in fact there is no such
separation of "I" and "it", there is simply a theatre of willing and
acting.  Furthermore, common usage can still be retained in this
comprehension of our personal theatre of action as a subset of the
whole, in that when we examine our inherited responsibility, we find
ourselves to be neither more nor less constrained, and by no different
considerations, than under any 'dualistic' conception.

David


> On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 2:37 PM, Brent Meeker<meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
> >> Either way, there is only the epiphenomenal experience of making my
> >> mind up...not the actuality of doing so.
>
> > I'd say there was the epiphenomenal experience of making up your mind AND 
> > the actuality of
> > doing so.  Your formulation divorces "you" from from everything and leaves 
> > "you" as a kind
> > of ghost.
>
> Well, that's physicalism for you.  I'm not saying that it's my
> view...which is why I said "assuming physicalism".
>
> > Brent
> > "If you make yourself small enough you can avoid responsibility for 
> > everything."
> >        --- Daniel Dennett, in Elbow Room
>
> Yeah, Dennett just redefines words in new ways so that he can say
> something like that and have it mean something entirely different than
> it would under common usage.  The goal being to convince people that a
> deterministic world-view doesn't drastically change anything, and
> therefore they shouldn't be alarmed by it.  "All the moral and ethical
> beliefs you had before are still basically true!  (IF you redefine all
> the words so that they mean something different than what you took
> them to mean before.)"
>
> Every word in your quote, except "for", has to be considered in the
> context of Dennett's special terminology.
>
> It's all just sophistry, to advance his "Bright" agenda.  Which I have
> nothing against per se...a world full of Brights would be an
> improvement over the current situation I think.
>
> But his Bright propaganda isn't at all helpful in trying to understand
> the underlying nature of reality.
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